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Sep 2020 · 865
Mallee Fire
Maggie Emmett Sep 2020
The space between the Mallee roots
is where the fire breathes in the grate
it slowly stirs and shifts
and shows it is alive
and full of nothing more
than its smoky-scented heat
and blood-red glowing coals.

© M.L. Emmett
Fire watching on a cold afternoon
Dec 2016 · 1.4k
Maggie Emmett Dec 2016

We live in a wired and weird world
where meanings of our words
are paper-thin tissue and torn
tarnished and worn by wear and War.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
And sweetest in the gale is heard;          
And sore must be the storm  
That could abash the little bird  
That kept so many warm.  
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,  
And on the strangest sea;        
Yet, never, in extremity,  
It asked a crumb of me.
To all my friends in America I offer this wonderful poem by one of your greatest poets Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886). Emily was an American WOMAN
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,"

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.
For all Americans to consider today!
From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Knopf and Vintage Books. Copyright © 1994 by the Estate of Langston Hughes.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may **** me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.
From And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.
Having seen the dreadful remarks made on Social Media about USA President's wife, Michelle Obama I think this poem is worth re-reading
Nov 2016 · 2.0k
October in Swallowfield
Maggie Emmett Nov 2016
Harsh wind screaming
with the crisp bite of Autumn night

Dark shadows dancing
with the branches of bare grey Elms

The lanes are winding
in the pale orange glow of headlights

Sudden hedgerows
edging the limits of the night

Power-cut darkness all around
strange in the headlight beam

No farm lights distant on the Tor
beacons of open field and place

Cottages shuddering their thatching
chimneys smoking message-morse

Pub signs banging wildly
in a crazy dance
inside candles flickering
patterns in tiny panes of rounded glass

Old stone steeple steady
dull toned bell
a ride on the wind to the copse

And still the lanes thread out
a ribbon of pebbles and stone
stretching into the night
until they melt
into the flat black tarmac
of the motorway.
A poem written about Swallowfield, Berkshire
Sep 2016 · 3.5k
Summer Solstice
Maggie Emmett Sep 2016
The cram of stars in the navy-night
blue-light of summer solstice.

The majestic zodiac sprawled
across the ever-stretching sky.

Ancient definitions of myth
star-stories of pre-determined fate

mapped in the moment and place
of our birthing; such fantasies

such imaginings of stellar systems
and mankind’s significance.

Heavens and humours; rules and rights
from Gods to kings and subjects

All settled in an ordered Universe
until, curiosity, ingenuity and invention

observation and record, rigor and Science
with its license to question freedom.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Sep 2016
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
Poem 1755 by Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886
Maggie Emmett Sep 2016
He perches in the slime, inert,
Bedaubed with iridescent dirt.
The oil upon the puddles dries
To colours like a peacock’s eyes,
And half-submerged tomato-cans
Shine scaly, as leviathans
Oozily crawling through the mud.
The ground is here and there bestud
With lumps of only part-burned coal.
His duty is to glean the whole,
To pick them from the filth, each one,
To hoard them for the hidden sun
Which glows within each fiery core
And waits to be made free once more.
Their sharp and glistening edges cut
His stiffened fingers. Through the ****
Gleam red the wounds which will not shut.
Wet through and shivering he kneels
And digs the slippery coals; like eels
They slide about. His force all spent,
He counts his small accomplishment.
A half-a-dozen clinker-coals
Which still have fire in their souls.
Fire! And in his thought there burns
The topaz fire of votive urns.
He sees it fling from hill to hill,
And still consumed, is burning still.
Higher and higher leaps the flame,
The smoke an ever-shifting frame.
He sees a Spanish Castle old,
With silver steps and paths of gold.
From myrtle bowers comes the plash
Of fountains, and the emerald flash
Of parrots in the orange trees,
Whose blossoms pasture humming bees.
He knows he feeds the urns whose smoke
Bears visions, that his master-stroke
Is out of dirt and misery
To light the fire of poesy.
He sees the glory, yet he knows
That others cannot see his shows.
To them his smoke is sightless, black,
His votive vessels but a pack
Of old discarded shards, his fire
A peddler’s; still to him the pyre
Is incensed, an enduring goal!
He sighs and grubs another coal.
“The Coal Picker” was published in Sword Blades and Poppy Seed (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914).
Maggie Emmett Sep 2016
The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

From The Complete Poems 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel.
I find this poem so wonderful despite never having mastered its art!
Aug 2016 · 2.5k
Spring ~ The Element Wood
Maggie Emmett Aug 2016
At Vernal equinox, the Sun crosses
over the plane of the Earth’s equator
and equalises the night and the day.
Then will the Emerald Dragon awaken
from his hibernation beneath the earth.
Rising in the jade forests of Ghizhou,
this yin creature transforms the cold, dead land.
Primal and powerful, he gathers the Qi;
melts the mountain snows to ribbons of fire
igniting the frosty hillsides to growth,
fuses each thing with verdant energy,
revives again the seed, renews the bulb,
sprouting tender shoots juice-rich and sap-full
Shy blossoms set to bloom and burst with fruit
Fresh scented breezes ruffle foliage
maiden ferns shiver with their thrill and ******
Grasses and reeds bedewed and beryline,
murmuring and humming low and dulcet,
dancing and swaying at the river’s edge.
Roots of every tree draw deep from the earth
Magnolia and Frangipani breathe
and pant out fragrant honeyed lusciousness
Spring sparks and quickens, kicks and is alive.

© M.L.Emmett
One of a series of poems on Elements
Although not Spring here in the southern hemisphere until 1st September, my snowdrops are up and about (revved up, no doubt by global warming) so that is my sign Spring is near.
Jun 2016 · 3.1k
Anna Karenina
Maggie Emmett Jun 2016
You were no Eve of Russian literature
like Pushkin’s precious Tatyana.
You were no young, innocent, provincial girl
seduced by cynical Onegin, that bon vivant
corrupted by modern European values.
You were no mysterious Russian soul
brimful of essential purity and self-sacrifice -
with a love of pain and pure disdain of happiness.

Tatyana resisted all temptation, refusing
to take flight, rejecting the man she loved.
She was too good to be true; but you, Anna
what a pickle you got yourself in, choosing ****** sin.
You could share an affair with dashing Vronsky
elope with him and leave behind your husband
abandon your beloved son, Alexei.

But these were not the dreadful choices
sealing your tragic fate, my dear Anna.
It was those ****** feelings you chased
all based on the sin of selfishness.
You fed on romance, passion and desire.
Your hot-hunger was insatiable, a fire
rip-roaring through restraint and all decorum
You sweated and panted wild for ******.

They say you’re a ‘drama queen’; heartless and mean
a woman undone by excess, always longing to undress
nakedly making grand errors of judgement.
By ignoring Tatyana’s fine example, you certainly forgot
there will always be those who tot up the ledger.
Your blood debt was owing, it had to be paid.

You saw the light at the end of the tunnel -
cool down, Anna, let the raw feelings subside
be watchful, wary and ever-ready to step aside
let the moments of  menace and gloom drain –
it might just be an oncoming train is due.

© M.L.Emmett 2016
Writing a series of poems about women in literature. Anna Karenina is the title character from  Tolstoy's great novel.
May 2016 · 9.3k
Gendering Woman Breasts
Maggie Emmett May 2016
Gendering Woman *******

Beautiful, anatomical part //  Ugly, anatomical part
Natural, pleasurable             //   Burdensome, loathsome
Female Symbolic                //    Femme Symbolic
MALIGNANT                             HEALTHY

fearful, tearful, wretched     //  joyful, hopeful, euphoric,
bereft, wept, grieving          //  embryonic, rapt, relieving
leaving, loss                         //  believing, gain
m a y b e - d e a t h                                            r e - b i r t h
Operating Theatre

SURGEON                                         ANAESTHETIST
cleaning/ cutting/ knife/ scalpel   //   doping/ unconscious/ airway
blood / tissue                                 //   hypotension
loss/ damage                                 //   shock
drains                                             //   sinus rhythm
stitches                                           //   pain deadening
tight binding                                 //   reversal drugs
a l i v e                                                a w a k e

draining, bound & stitched               draining, bound & stitched
    ­                                   ~ UNBOUND
                                       -- UNSTITCHED –

Empty chest                                                    Flat Chest
FREEDOM from Disease                               FREEDOM from Dis-ease

© M.L.Emmett
This was written to explore the different responses to bi-lateral mastectomies, one woman with Cancer; the other trans gendering. It was inspired by reading The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, whose partner, Harry, was pleased to be rid of these cumbersome appendages & by my friend, Angela who had breast carcinoma and felt very differently towards the loss of *******.
May 2016 · 1.4k
Maggie Emmett May 2016
~ For Molly ~

There cannot ever be, for me
an emotional peak so high
and beyond all other experience
so much my own, entirely.
A speechless secret, my unsaid words
preserving its wonderful wholeness
the not-telling, keeping it so precious
too precious for me, I fear, to shatter
the silence of its perfection.

The blood bond between us
holds no hidden barriers
in this amniotic floating universe
shock-absorbing all the outer world
nutrient rich, nourishing your growth.
My voice vibrating, rippling
in your sonic breathless bubble.
My body, in all its actions
and motions, marking your time
rolling and turning your shaping.

Your rhythm pressing my organs
punching and kicking, demanding space
Immersed in my body’s womb-core
snuggling safe and deeply nestled
in our sheer and utter intimacy.
I give you all I’ll ever have
my blood, my breath, my everything
beyond all my knowing and imagining
this is a devotion most terrible and sublime.

© M.L.Emmett 2016
Poem for my daughter
Apr 2016 · 1.5k
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(for Jill Jones)

Each day is always possible
I fling myself at chances.

My horizon pulses its limitless light
splitting atoms, shattering the white.

Silver birches shiver spotlights
whispering forgotten lines in my ears.

Feathered clouds soar and skim
as I taste the vast blue skin of sky.

I catch the words beneath the waves
each tide of syllables and song.

I’m sand-etched and scratch at
language lost and left on the shore.

I make for the glowing yellow moment  
and live in metaphor.

© M.L.Emmett 2016
Written in response to a poem by Jill Jones - an Australian poet
Apr 2016 · 932
Sewing the Moon in the Sky
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(for my brother, Martin)

I have sown the moon in the sky for you
so every night its there for you to see

I have stopped every clock from ticking time away
I have turned the tides back from the shore

I have stopped your world in blue belled Spring
and locked my in the falling leaves of Autumn

So now you can rewind the moments of the world
You can go back, to that one moment of choice

and never find the hose, nor set the engine deadly running
nor send those texts of fond farewells, to friends who looked away

nor write to me with love a comfort letter
for the dreadful loss.

Just you:

the tufted, still blonde cowlick sticking up
the crinkled nose and cheeky smile
those sea blue eyes to drown in
strong brown arms, muscles flexed and toned
wrapped tight around me warm
and alive.

© M.L.Emmett
My brother killed himself on 26th April 2007.
Apr 2016 · 961
Remembering You Again
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
For my brother, Martin

I'm going to sling your memory
over my shoulder
back pack you round the world

slide you on to station platforms
alongside the passing panorama of footsteps
that echo on that slice of cold cement

tuck you into airplane lockers
overhead the sleeping flyers
in that metal coffin in the ice cream clouds

nestle you among bus luggage
beneath the picture windows
and the ribbon racing road

I will unpack you in every village
every town and every city
in every land and nation

on every continent and land mass
crossing the oceans and seas
catching every wave and tide

circling the earth on winds and breezes
following sunsets and solar eclipses
and every cycle of the moon

until I find a place of resting
until I find a place of peace
until I find a place of peace

© M.L.Emmett
Written for my brother, Martin.
Died 26th April 2007 by his own hand in a Bluebell Wood
Apr 2016 · 1.9k
Sonnet for a Suicide
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(inspired by Robert Pinsky)
Morning sun on his face
steady motor murmur
vibrating the hose

Bluebells clamber
over the hill’s top -
nothing to remember

only the same engine noise
that keeps making the same sounds
under his head poised

and pulsing the same beat
no-one to say his name,
no need, no-one to praise him

only the engine’s voice - over
and over, running under him.

© M.L.Emmett
My brother killed himself on 26th April 2007 in a Bluebell Wood.
He died of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Reposted to honour him.
Apr 2016 · 544
Writing Martin
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(For Martin, my brother)

I write your name
on window panes

I clap out its five syllables
for the five fingers of my hand

and the five senses
lost and abandoned

I see deep white snow
and signposts buried in the drifts

I hear the jet black engine
running under my sternum

I touch the mirrored stillness
You still, me still here

I smell the red raw emptiness
bloodied, ***** and free

I taste the green of bitterness
acid etching ulcers in a stomach wall

I trace the ink of your signature
follow each loop and dot of the ‘i’

that ‘i’ Martin
that has been erased forever.
One of a series about the death of my brother on 26th April 2007
Apr 2016 · 879
Monash's Lost Boys
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
In Neverland - never to grow old
never to marry that sweetheart
never to have children and grandchildren
nor watch hair thin and grey.

Full of derring-do - more dash than discipline
lanky and loose-limbed they swank and saunter
not like soldiers at all
no doff the cap humility
to the old rules and distant monarchies.

From a newly stolen world
hardly secured or steady with itself
lodged on the edge of a vast continent
clinging to a rim of turquoise blue.

Now cramped
in the pock-holed sores of ancient lands
richly bone-dusted from time to time.

Waiting for the fight to end
to go ‘back home’ ‘over there’
to farms and factories; schools and stations.

Still there - left behind
in the archipelago of cemeteries
as far as Fromelles, Pozieres,
to Bullencourt and Paschendaele
in fields of beetroot and corn,
fields bleeding red with poppies
beside the Menin Road at Ypres
in bluebelled woods of Verdun
in the silt of the Somme
on the plains of Flanders
in the victory graves at Amiens

Monash’s boys - the lost boys
cried for their mothers
begged for water
screamed to die
hung like khaki bundles on the wire.

Commanded by Field Marshalls
who never went to the fields,
who played the numbers game
in a war of bluff and bluster,
who never touched the dirt and slime,
nor waded through the ****** slush
of broken men and boys,
never waist-deep in mud and sinking,
wounded and drowning in that shambles of a war

Wearing dead men’s boots
and shrapnel-holed helmets
tunics and leggings splattered and rotting
with dead men’s blood and brains

Some haunted boys came home
knapsacks full of secret pictures,
old rusty tins crammed with suffering
breast pockets held their grief
wrapped in shroud-shreds.

They brought their duckboard demons
to the world of peace
Gas-choked fretful lungs still brought
the caustic fumes with every breath exhaled
and from every pore the death-sweat of decay.

But most boys were lost boys
lost forever in that no-man’s land
that Neverland of lives unlived.
© M.L.Emmett
25th April Anzac Day 2016
In remembrance of the total waste and loss of young mens' lives in WWI. For all the civilians who died and the mothers, wives and sisters who waited in vain for so many soldiers who never returned.
Apr 2016 · 1.6k
Ode to Early Death
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
~ To *****, on the death of our mutual friend John Keats ~

What steadfast equilibrium
Can border vastness of grief?
Nothing ever becomes as real
Till it be experience.

Life’s fragile day is done for Keats
Imagination his belief
His Monastery, he its Monk
Beauty’s spell, fervent relief.

He died in Rome mourned by so few
Bright star, by none more than you
He hears your tender-taken breath
Ever feels soft fall and swell.

If warm,  wind plucked purest  harp
Words from tranquillity have sprung
Then Nature’s might and awe arouse
World’s sheer grandeur will be sung

Yet will black shadows cross the land
Swarming clouds of  Erinyes
Snatching this poet young and sweet
More mortal than his poetry.

© M.L.Emmett
In the style of Horace Odes Book I . XXIV
John Keats corresponded warmly and lovingly to *****.
Keats fans may find inclusion of familiar language and ideas here...
Apr 2016 · 1.5k
Coroner's Epigram ~ Darwin
Maggie Emmett Apr 2016
(On the death of a daughter)

The death I must pronounce upon
For you, parents, the wait was long
Across this land unjustly tried
Your silence only proof you lied.
In pitch darkness, dragged overland
By Dingo jaws and human hand
Guilty and gaoled, she would have read
In her sixth year, were she not dead
Just six weeks, never spoke a word
Now flies the night, free as a bird
Over deserts ochre and red
On Uluru she rests her head
Wakens and plays in sunlight stark
Darts in rock shadows, cool and dark
In Rainbow Spirit surely trust
She lies lightly in sand and dust.

© M.L.Emmett
In the style of Martial in Epigram 5.34
Refers to the death of Azaria Chamberlain near Uluru (once known as Ayres' Rock)
Entry into John Bray Poetry Prize 2012
Mar 2016 · 2.3k
Thames at Night
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
The air is slow and still
faint puttering of the last barge
shunting coal downstream

city on the edge of sleep, settles
city on the edge of night, darkens

stretched steel and stone relax
cooling to a grey relief

reeds and sedges ripple
under bridges
and on the edges of the river

city in the gaze of moonlight, sighs
city in the haze of moonlight, slips

in the steady wash of tidal waters
and the brackish water of the estuary
come the bodies from the shore.

© M.L. Emmett
I was born in Reading, a town straddling the river Thames. It is an ancient river...
Mar 2016 · 4.4k
Waiting to Fly
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
at breaking point

fleshed out of existence

she caresses
the white hospital cup

as if it were
a soft-feathered fallen dove

frightened and waiting
for a chance to fly again.

© M.L.Emmett
Observation & imagination
Mar 2016 · 4.3k
Backpacks of Dreaming
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
In the seventies
we brought back silks and saris
hot with colours
that shocked the nights
Punjabi embroidery
on cheesecloth kaftans
mirror glittered skirts
that were spun with light
Kashmiri shawls
and Afghani dancing dresses
arms full of bracelets
silver and brass
enameled and etched
and singing with ***
rings of Ivory, sapphire and jet
necklaces of jade and threaded apple seeds
rain forest timber bowls
white marble boxes from Agra
with precious inlay stones
our little Taj Mahals
we wandered the globe
like a magical village
of lovers and
and came back
with backpacks of dreaming
and hope.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
My lover’s eyes no longer navy pool
bleached paler by years of beating sun
His nose over ****** dominion rules
and skin with liver spots is overrun
A dandelion man, confused and tall,
a long thin stem and a puff of white hair
Unsteady gait, joints need an overhaul
the crack and creak of cartilage wear
His views are fixed and often dogmatic
expressed in cold voice with power and force
He never cares to be diplomatic
preferring a more a belligerent course
Yet, he is my love and ever shall be
as long as the tides rush in from the sea.
Shakespearean Sonnet form
Mar 2016 · 967
Miss Haversham
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
Miss Haversham has shaken
off the cobwebs and the deadly dust.
tore down the tattered curtains
moth-eaten and frayed
She’s flung open the windows
thrown away the detritus of decay
into the path of passing winds
napery tossed down to the garden.
Even the mice have run for cover
as she tears off the raggedy sheds
of stained satin and be-ribboned lace.

She stands naked in the barren room
Estella has prepared a soothing bath
perfumed rich with oils and fragrant attars
to steal the acris stench of unwashed years
coaxing the arid brittle crust away
saving the soft delicate skin beneath
viciousness, sloughed smooth
and vengeful purpose passes.

She is reborn a Botticelli Venus
standing in an open shell
long hair shining and wrapping around
her creamy skin, voluptuous
curvaceous, slippery with life
newborn yet wiser for the years
of reflection, ready to deflect
romantic nonsense and live
free and breathe again.

© M.L.Emmett
Alternative Stories
Mar 2016 · 651
The Deadly Tournament
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
Death jousts with pain
each day of life
in a deadly tournament
each side waiting
for the silk scarf to fall.

In vain they wait
as the me between
shrinks into a senseless ball
of indecision
living a death of sorts
each day.

There is a need to end
the vice-like pain
of living.
To scrape out the anger
burrowing deep
malignant in bone.

There is a love which holds
me bound in a winding sheet
of guilt and fear
to leave you alone
as I was left
by Nanna and the phenobarbitone.
to escape
the daily torment and the pain.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 13/06/99; revised 16/02/2012
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
I am the ****** and damaged warrior
Mighty presence on an arid plain
Waste-land empty and scorch-scarred parched
Looking to the dazzling dawn
Of another baking, aching, dry day
Of another dying, desert year.

They watched bold marching
Fearful tramping
To each pitiful skirmish
And every blood-hungry moment
Of all the days and nights.

They watched corded muscles
Spasm and seize
With each call to stretch and pull
And drag the weary-worn
To fight again.

Let no man call with shrill-shriek of the owl
Across the night-filled silence
Let no-one ever whisper in the dark, dearth
Across the shadowed chasm

I am alone within a purple shade
Night-cloaked in cunning strange
I am the time-deadened, weary watchman
Locked in a forever-circle of despair

Manacled with lead, banded with steel
Tight twisted and knotted by a skein of silk
Woven tightly by the softest hand
Strengthened by certainty and pure calm
There is no escape to unearth

But death
Is skirting the edge of existence
Picking at the loose threads
Teasing and niggling the fraying filaments
Laddering and snagging
And pulling, pulling out beyond time
The winding-sheet, the sack-cloth shroud
The only closing choice.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 04/08/98
revised 31/08/2014 & finally revised 16/02/2016.
Mar 2016 · 1.2k
Barbed Wire Wound
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
The barbed wire is wound
and catches tight
around the torso.

Razor wire loops limbs
and worries the skin
to stillness.

There is a hot wire passed
through the skull
and down the spine
pulled tight and taut
and electrified.

Pain only lives
roasted in the core
of reality.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem13/06/99; revised 16/02/2016
No longer feeling this pain
Mar 2016 · 1.5k
Realm of Rumour
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
In the realm of rumour
wise men suggest
when it is dark enough
you will see the stars

In the fury and the mire of human veins
fragments of dreams and memories
used to spring loose

from my crowded mind
unsettled, darting dreams
shouting slogans in the noisy air.

In the kingdom
of saliva and dust
I have ceased to dream

And soon
I will soon cease
to exist.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 'Reality' 07/02/99;  revised 16/02/2016
Mar 2016 · 2.8k
Spinning Out
Maggie Emmett Mar 2016
My Maypole mind unravels
reverses centrifugal force
its streamer shreds of ribbons
spinning backwards
in one grand and splendid rush.

Mind loosened and snapped
fluttering free
electric after-images
of me.

© M.L.Emmett
unpublished poem 08/02/99; revised 16/02/2012
Feb 2016 · 904
The Tangled Wire
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
I want to see lady to ladette
set in Baltimore
with Omar teaching drug theft
with the finer points of gun cleaning
calibre selection and event planning
as his curricula.

I want Jimmy and Bunk
teaching the dos and don’ts
of alcohol intoxication
the art of shot and stubbie mix
the singing and drinking anthems
to stir the blood
and the strategic gutter chuck
before the final whisky chaser.

I want those girls out on the corners
playing police bingo
speaking drug lingo
and developing their drug-fuelled irony
of WMB, the Icicle and Pandemic.

I want Clay to teach them elocution
and elongation in the word “Shiiiiiiit”

I want Avon Barnsdale to teach them gangster codes
of respect on Sundays for stoop people
and Sunday crowns
on everybody’s grandmother.

I want Kima to discuss sexuality
and the Other
I want them to talk change and reform
with Cutty, Colvin and Prez.
Daniels will show how love and loyalty
can be made to work in reality.

And I just want
I only want
for myself.

© M.L.Emmett
References to British TV Ladette to Lady & American TV The Wire.
Feb 2016 · 1.1k
At Harbour's Entrance
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
At harbour’s entrance, a mile or more away
beyond high water, hunkered down
the old Quarantine station
on a flat patch of land
etched from the tangles of coastal heath.

The Barrack buildings besieged
by brooding sky and sea
and choking landscape – bush
thickets clambering the steep isthmus
backdrop of granite tor.

Chaotic angled peaks everywhere
indecisive stony sentinels
offering no certainty in the grey cloud
chiffonade of morning.
Slow, lingering clouds
wandering in confused circles
or passing over, casually
bringing squalls and showers.

Washing the pock-picked stone
to glistening newness of a palette
of fresh browns – tan, taupe, fox-brown
chestnut to black murky sludge
as if recently erupted
from earth’s muddy tender skin.

A cluster of cottages
a settlement of sorts with cannon ports
and flagpole and a fenced graveyard
still telling stories of pathos
pity and waste filling this place
with a strange, pressing silence
an atmospheric numbness felt
in dread and gravity.

© M.L.Emmett
This poem refers to an Australian prison settlement
Feb 2016 · 1.1k
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
Lost in my chiaroscuro world
I cannot be followed
No-one knows my secret language
No-one knows my passwords
or my frames of reference
Everything said, is coded.

In desperate times
speech becomes pure sound
rhythmic and completely foreign
People can make out words
but they have no context

George, Jean, Martin
Arthur, Margaret
Names like rays on a compass
They were my world
of visible magnetic forces
I could no more abandon them
than rearrange the continents.

But you can learn
when the old geography
is too painfully familiar
not to abandon it
But simply invent
a country of your own.

A landscape beyond maps,
compasses and sextant
Beyond a dictionary
of common usage
and invented diction.

You can search
but the unseen
patterns of dreaming
are as easy to find.

Isolated, distant
language fractures
and returns to you
words are breaking the barrier reef
an exile in a shadow land.

The damage grows inside
sensed but unseen
seeping into crevices like moss
and lichen gripping
spreading and creeping
a spiked vine
flaring down to the tongue.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 07/02/99 & revised 16/02/2012
Feb 2016 · 1.2k
Each Day
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
Each day the light slips
into the murky shadows
of the bedroom-morning-depression

Cars swish by
in the rush hour of work
and school

routines, timetables and teabreaks
weekday working
full of purpose.

On the edge, outside the frame
margin people wait
silenced and destination free

unmapped, unseen
locked tight
in a circle

their perimeter
only hoping for a break.

© M.L.Emmett
original unpublished poem 1996
revised 16/01/2012
Feb 2016 · 979
Black Hole Family
Maggie Emmett Feb 2016
The relationship between my family
and the ideal was the same
as a black hole to a star.

We burned out at the centre
yet still we shared
the same dark energy.

who could not escape
each other.

We continued to orbit,
even slid by
each other

at regular intervals
avoiding connection
at all cost.

© M.L.Emmett
Originally written 07/02/99; revised 31/08/2014 & final revision 16/02/2016
Jan 2016 · 1.3k
Maggie Emmett Jan 2016
I’m just a lanky lass from Wycheproof
Born on the right side of the tracks
Law degree and a stint at Racing Vic
I’ve risen well above the backroom hacks

I’m revered
and I’m feared
I’m Tony’s confidante
I scream, I shout, I rant
Back benchers quake
Ministers shake
I’m an armoured tank
You know I outrank
any one in Coo-ee
of super-strong me

Chief of Staff to the PM
I’m the ultimate femme
Murdoch grumbled, tried to call me to heel
I’m never humbled, I’m totally real
I am the ‘she’ who must be obeyed
I am the piper who must be paid
I’m the gate-keeper
I’m the scythe-reaper

Tony knows who makes and butters his bread
I keep him happy, I keep him well fed
I am Salome, when I call for a head
a platter it’s given, my enemy dead.

I was top of my game and top of the list
of Helen McCabe’s ‘Women of Power’
I’ve never cowered, brown-nosed or ****-kissed
I stand tall, over midgets I tower
Natural-born killer exudes from my pores
I suffer no fools, I banish the bores
I mark my territory, a ******* dog
Clear dry is my vision, no room for fog
Some say I influence all decisions
I’m an enforcer of rigid divisions
There is only ‘us’ in the battle of wills
Ride on my side, for the endless high thrills
Of course I agree I’ve had an impact
It’s true without me, poor Tony can’t act
But sad to tell you, it’s still more than that
I’m in charge of the ball and even the bat
I know there are some who cannot like me
Though I control the national psyche
So come Malcolm, Julie and sad sack Joe
I will decide when it’s my time to go
No-one can challenge Abbot, my hero
I’ll zap them to ashes, to dust, to zero
I’ll huff and I’ll puff and blow their House down
Forever secure and wearing my crown
So don’t mess with me, you miserable crew
Just you crawl away in case I say, “Boo!”
I’m beautiful fearless, utterly bold
Remember, I serve revenge icy cold.

© M.L.Emmett
This is political satire. Peta Credlin was the Chief of Staff of Tony Abbott, Australia's most recently deposed (2015) Prime Minister. In 2015 she headed the Australian Women's Weekly (published monthly) 50 Women of Power. She stated in the presentation that she had got the government into power - such is her hubris!
Apologies to Jane Russell re- opening lines which mimic her song in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'.
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
~for Philip Larkin~

Soundless dark of wakeful night
panic thrills the heart
and chokes the mind
with dread of dying
of lying dead -
white marble stone dead -
beyond self
to nothingness
and nowhere.

Just energy burst free,
to the godless Universe
body to ashes
and nothing more.

© M.L.Emmett
Nov 2015 · 2.0k
Lagoon Libraries
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
Venice was a place for sudden ******
a stiletto plunged in velvet
vengeance tied in a knot of silk
piracy on any dark canal
robbery under quiet bridges.

Water laps the crumbling walls
salt hunger creeps up
seeps between stones
worms its way through cedar
settles in the sagging shelves
where old books bound in leather
edged in gold, embossed with crests
are best left well alone.

In these libraries of the lagoon
chapters and paragraphs
sentences and phrases fragment
nouns lay down with their verbs
creating images from metaphors
startling and sublime, but hidden
kept in these word-chambers
they slide away in time.

Each passing month, each day
restless and uneasy
festering in this state of decay
Venice is still
the place of death.

© M.L.Emmett
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
~ Otto Dix Plate 22 ~

Each night I meet myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am material and real, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.

There is nothing whole and complete
nothing has retained its shape or structure
everything is splintered into surfaces
in my imagination.

There can be only shreds and shards
only textures, hard lines and spaces
where white light can dance free
in my imagination.

Each night I crawl through ruined houses
along dark passages that close me in
dropping to bottomless depths of myself
in my imagination

There are only axons and dendrites in my mind
electric sparking, all atoms in a crystal night
a grasping hand, a gaping eye disconnected
in my imagination.

Each night I try to find myself in nightmares
I am my own enemy fighting in No-man’s land
I am dark energy and matter, yet I barely exist
in my imagination.

© M.L.Emmett
This is a response to Plate 22 Etching by Otto Dix, who fought in WWI and was haunted by his service. He was despised by the Nazis.
Nov 2015 · 1.2k
The Lost Boys
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
In Neverland - never to grow old
never to marry that sweetheart
never to have children and grandchildren
nor watch hair thin and grey.

Full of derring-do - more dash than discipline
lanky and loose-limbed they swank and saunter
not like soldiers at all
no doff the cap humility
to the old rules and distant monarchies.

From a newly stolen world
hardly secured or steady with itself
lodged on the edge of a vast continent
clinging to a rim of turquoise blue.

Now cramped
in the pock-holed sores of ancient lands
richly bone-dusted from time to time.

Waiting for the fight to end
to go ‘back home’ ‘over there’
to farms and factories; schools and stations.

Still there - left behind
in the archipelago of cemeteries
as far as Fromelles, Pozieres,
to Bullencourt and Paschendaele
in fields of beetroot and corn,
fields bleeding red with poppies
beside the Menin Road at Ypres
in bluebelled woods of Verdun
in the silt of the Somme
on the plains of Flanders
in the victory graves at Amiens

Monash’s boys - the lost boys
cried for their mothers
begged for water
screamed to die
hung like khaki bundles on the wire.

Commanded by Field Marshalls
who never went to the fields,
who played the numbers game
in a war of bluff and bluster,
who never touched the dirt and slime,
nor waded through the ****** slush
of broken men and boys,
never waist-deep in mud and sinking,
wounded and drowning in that shambles of a war

Wearing dead men’s boots
and shrapnel-holed helmets
tunics and leggings splattered and rotting
with dead men’s blood and brains

Some haunted boys came home
knapsacks full of secret pictures,
old rusty tins crammed with suffering
breast pockets held their grief
wrapped in shroud-shreds.

They brought their duckboard demons
to the world of peace
Gas-choked fretful lungs still brought
the caustic fumes with every breath exhaled
and from every pore the death-sweat of decay.

But most boys were lost boys
lost forever in that no-man’s land
that Neverland of lives unlived.

© M.L.Emmett
Written in respect and memory of the Australian soldiers who served in France & Gallipoli in World War I. Monash was an Australian General.
Nov 2015 · 4.3k
The Somme Sunset
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
Sun swollen
reddening as it sank
that brutal ****** disc
scored by church steeples
and chimney stacks
almost lost in the drifting haze
of sulphurous yellow
and char-black smoke.

Duck boards dip
into the sodden earth
as men ***** along in conga lines
holding tight the pack of the man
in front, lest they should slip
lose quick their footing
be ****** down and smothered
by mud.

The walls of the tunnels
are packed earth
rich with blood and bone
bits and pieces of human
anatomy dangle and hang
as if posed by an artist
with a strange and cruel eye
for detail.

The scrabble for fox holes
and rough scraped ditches,
anywhere, below the line of fire.
The ting and ****-bang
of a night of action
The whistle, the dash
and the forward push
counted more in men
than metres.                                                                

© M.L.Emmett
Nov 2015 · 3.3k
The Somme Offensive 1916
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
For nine days the artillery barrage
rained down on us
that June of summer in the Somme
machine gunners like me waited
in our concrete bunkers deep in the earth

When the shelling stopped
we rushed to the surface
and began our job of mowing down
the slow walking British Infantry
stoically advancing as if in another war
in another time where they might choose
to die bravely and with honour
a hero fighting for his life
his king and country

But here he dies unknown
by the chance turning of my gun
in his direction at that one moment
and the random number of bullets
left to fire.

© M.L.Emmett
Read at a show at the Art Gallery of South Australia for an exhibition of the etchings of Otto Dix
Nov 2015 · 932
This Was a New War
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
It has a new scale of reference
vast, vicious and unforgiving
death for millions will be anonymous
machine gun arbitrary and indiscriminate
shelled and shocked, barraged and buried
no whole corpse to recognise as human
no remains to mourn and grieve
just rich blood and bone for Poppies
growing strong in the Flanders' fields.

Landscape resculpted to barest bone
earth desecrated and destroyed
every old tree and young bush uprooted
tossed like feathers to the blackened sky
debris swirling in the clouds of poison
gas and the putrid stench of burning flesh
in pyres that smoke and stink for days
just fertile ash and dust for Poppies
growing strong in the Flanders' fields.

© M.L.Emmett
Read at an exhibition of the etchings of Ottto Dix, a soldier fighting for the Germans as a young man in WWI. He was persecuted by the Nazis in WWII
Go to National Gallery of Australia website to view his chilling art.
Nov 2015 · 881
At The Crematorium
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
At the Crematorium
white smoke curls
and coils
and drifts
- a wisp
of your hair.

Blood-red rich roses
thrive in bone rich soil
velvety smooth
and secret-scented
- the inside skin
of your wrists.

© M.L.Emmett
A version first published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time
Nov 2015 · 1.6k
Predicting Death in Winnipeg
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
In Winnipeg
they dig the winter graves
in autumn
before the sun sleeps
and the ground freezes.

They guess the number
of holes to dig.
They respect the cold
and the winter dead.

Death prediction
is a fine art
in Winnipeg.  

© M.L.Emmett
First published in New Poets 14: Snatching Time
Nov 2015 · 2.4k
Where Ships Come to Die
Maggie Emmett Nov 2015
On the mud flats of Padma Delta
where the mighty Ganges slides
into the Bay of Bengal
ships come to die.

Rusting oil tankers,
container ships from Panama
passenger liners,
and cargo ships from Zanzibar
North Sea fishing boats
research vessels and mother ships
anything that floats
each one has made its final trip.

Steel Leviathans
low tide beached
oil-slick stuck.

Metal monoliths
****** deep
into black sand.

The people of Sitakunda
come marching, ants
across the slippery surface
of diesel sand
to pick the carcasses apart.

Barefoot, with only blow torches
hammers and brute strength
wrenching rivets, nuts and bolts
breaching beams and deck
splitting welded seams
until the hulls are gutted
ribbed struts broken down
and torn from the edges of shape

Bit by bit
they scour and empty
right down to the core.

Bit by bit
they carry *****
to the waiting shore.

Where melting pots are kept boiling
giant stock pots stewing goodness
in a broth
but metallic flavours and oily spiced stench
hang in the misty bleakness of the bay

Skeleton hulks shift and ride
lurching, lifting with the tide
rolling, dangerous still
collapsing, with groaning creak
to maim, to crush and ****
the daring, the slow and the weak.

© M.L.Emmett
First published in New Poets 14' Snatching Time'
Maggie Emmett Sep 2015
Emily will take her cedar box
of hidden poems
throwing them on a Sou’ Westerly breeze
in a New England Spring —

They will be snatched and fly
daring, dainty flutter byes
across the stretching continent
the Great Plains and New Frontiers —
The Sun — rising in ribbons
Mountains dripping scarlet sunsets
vast Miles of Evening Sparks —
as the Hemispheres come home
to early Night —

they’ll be read by lonely cowboys
drinking whisky, in the sagebrush
Indian braves campfire smoking
Sung in Saloons by husky-voiced dames
can-can dressed and a whole lotta grit
and gumption.

Emily, lightened of her load
unknotted the Skein of Misery —
Universe unstitched —
in this moment of escape
Landscape will listen —
Shadows will hold their breath
until the words are spoken.

Emily’s skipping down the stairs
of that morbid, cold wintered house
with its bare Slants of Light —
rushing out the door
throwing herself on the Open day —

Telling True, but slanted.
Alternative Histories
Aug 2015 · 18.0k
Lady Macbeth
Maggie Emmett Aug 2015
Lady Macbeth washed her hands
cleaner than Pontius Pilate
with a new improved, bio-enzyme
oxy-bursting, 99.9% germ-scouring
recommended by dermato-logists
scented with rose attar
oils from Arabia
and spermaceti soothing
unguents from long dead whales.

She’s going to the nail bar
for a manicure and application
of semi-permanent, diamond-
tipped, acrylic base-coated
in red blood enamel.

She’ll scratch
and etch rich tattoos
on her husband’s back
with every ******, he will shudder
with pain and delight
He’ll soon forget long, dark nights
bewitched by ghosts and ambition.

© M.L. Emmett
Alternate views of Literature
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